Lee (striver) wrote in blog_sociology,
Lee
striver
blog_sociology

The other side of the coin

When I was a kid we had this big contraption with a 50,000 volt transformer and buzzing neon-like tubes that generated ozone. It was a 'medical' device touted to cure everything from hangnails to cancer. Fortunately I didn't spend too much time with this newfangled gadget so I still have my original lungs. I don't want to appear like some 'neo-Luddite', but I can say from long experience that it is wise to look closely at new technology before diving in head first.

That said...here are a couple interesting looks at the good side of online communication

Study says social networking sites increase productivity...with the usual cautions of course :)

Facebook as a serious communications tool...
"In fact, she and others noticed attendance at Sociology Club meetings was down, but once the Facebook groups were posted, membership and involvement increased."

The article also refers to the advantage of a certain amount of leniency in the workplace, like casual Fridays. The sort of thing that makes people feel 'this is a good place to work'. In my HR management studies a few decades ago I remember coming across a study that showed the same thing with mild employee pilfering. Allowing someone to walk off with a box of pencils now and then can actually pay off for a company.

This article suggests there might be an equal advantage to allowing a certain amount of on the job private Internet access. But it also mentions the problem of abuse. Such things are always a delicate balance and it isn't always easy to see where to draw the line. I have known a number of people who have encountered problems with Internet use in the workplace.

And here is an article which states that, instead of isolating people, the Internet is putting us in touch.

http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/city/story.html?id=5a12fd0a-eb12-416d-bfa3-f3016907cdf8

"Wellman said almost all relationships people have online are with those they already know. In fact, he says, it's generally more social people who are greater Internet users."

I have been accused recently of not understanding what REAL people are like because I spend so much time in the make believe world of the internet.
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  • 9 comments

indifferenthues

December 28 2008, 20:36:56 UTC 6 years ago

instead of isolating people, the Internet is putting us in touch

I agree, to the point that wherever (almost, little brother pointed out that one good thing about being tossed into Maasiyahu by Shin Bet was that he was free of the incessant family chatter) you go in the world, you now bring your friends and family with you.

Additionally we now hear far less of the bemoaning of the "lost art of letter writing".

striver

December 28 2008, 22:54:21 UTC 6 years ago

(almost, little brother pointed out that one good thing about being tossed into Maasiyahu by Shin Bet was that he was free of the incessant family chatter)

What an absolutely perfect reference! :P I know I have read that somewhere but I cannot remember where. What is that from?

indifferenthues

December 28 2008, 23:31:43 UTC 6 years ago

umm, as far as I know it was said by my exasperated little brother to his family members, but it is quite possible that there are other little brothers in the world who do wish their mothers, sisters, in-laws and cousins by the dozens would just be quite, it is very hard to be "cool" when your mother is only a mouse click away

striver

December 29 2008, 00:12:34 UTC 6 years ago

indeed :) perhaps we are suffering from communication overload. I had much more time out of touch with people when I was young. I wonder how that is changing the view of the world of today's youth.

striver

December 29 2008, 01:50:38 UTC 6 years ago

I have been browsing some of Patrick's writings such as this one:

http://www.countercurrents.org/oconnor281008.htm

Very good stuff. This is another very important aspect of internet/blog sociology. While there is much more junk to dig through there is also a lot of solid information like this getting out now that is suppressed in the normal media.

siderea

January 1 2009, 22:57:40 UTC 6 years ago

I agree, to the point that wherever (almost, little brother pointed out that one good thing about being tossed into Maasiyahu by Shin Bet was that he was free of the incessant family chatter) you go in the world, you now bring your friends and family with you.

Yeah, I consider that far more likely to be problematic than the (presumed) socially isolative effects of the internet.

It's been suggested by some research (sorry, don't remember where I saw this) that this is having a perversely isolative effect on college freshmen. Since they come to school with full friends lists and as contant email/chat contact with their HS friends as they had living in the same town, they feel no particular need to make new friends at college.

Honestly, I've found that largely true of myself -- I'm a "returning student" in grad school at midlife, and, really, I have no need or desire to socialize with my classmates because I have a life. Now some of that is that I'm at a commuter school for working adults, so nobody is much socializing. But some of it is that even though I don't have time to see my friends f2f, I can keep up with them via LJ and email.

striver

January 1 2009, 23:50:58 UTC 6 years ago

This would change the landscape considerably. Over the years I have heard many stories of people losing touch with their high school friends as they go off to collage and form new relationships there. On the one hand I want to say that retaining the same support group can help someone in the new, unfamiliar environment. But at the same time do we tend to grow and learn a lot from the experience of being cast into the unfamiliar and needing to form new foundations. I would love to see some good studies on the pros and cons of this.

siderea

January 2 2009, 00:13:31 UTC 6 years ago

I would, too. I somehow doubt we'll get them, though. :/

siderea

January 1 2009, 23:07:38 UTC 6 years ago Edited:  January 1 2009, 23:08:41 UTC

This article suggests there might be an equal advantage to allowing a certain amount of on the job private Internet access.

My workplace allows private Internet access. Since we do a lot of innovative things with the internet and education, encouraging private Internet usage is the cheapest way of keeping our staff up on the latest developments in Web2.0 or whatever is coming next! :D

As benes go, it's amazingly affordable with a fabulous rate of employee-warm-fuzzy return.

Also, staff are welcome to do their Christmas shopping online at the office. They're invited to have packages shipped to the office, and at least some years, our Office Services dept. has invited people to ship out gifts from the office (you have to pay for your postage, but they'll get it out for you). Cause, honestly, we'd rather have people take one hour off to shop for gifts at Amazon, than take one day off to go out shopping and then stand in line at the post office.

Such things are always a delicate balance and it isn't always easy to see where to draw the line.

I kinda disagree. There are two lines, and they're pretty darned bright and clear, to me. 1) Don't use the internet for anything illegal or which might get the company in trouble -- no illegal porn, no hacking into NORAD, no illegal filesharing. 2) You have to get your work done.

If someone is spending all day IMing friends and failing to get work done, that is no different that if they spent all day picking their nose and failing to get work done. It has nothing really to do with the internet, or what they were doing instead of working. It has to do with failing to get the work done.

Oh, and 3) Don't hog our pipe to the internet with streaming media during normal business hours.